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Todd Estes

Headshot - Todd Estes

Title: Professor
Office: 468 Varner Hall
Phone: (248) 370-3534
Fax: (248) 370-3528
Email: [email protected]

Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Major Fields:
American Revolution, Early National Period, Jacksonian America

Todd Estes is Professor of History and has taught at Oakland since 1995. Born in Ohio, raised in Tennessee, he holds a B.A. (University of Tennessee), M.A., and Ph.D. (both University of Kentucky) degrees in U.S. History. His teaching specialty is early American history from the American Revolution through the Jacksonian era and his research concentrates on early U.S. political history and political culture. Estes is the author of the book The Jay Treaty Debate, Public Opinion, and the Evolution of Early American Political Culture (2006; paperback 2008) in addition to the articles and essays listed below. Currently, he is working on a book about the debate over ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787-1788. Estes has won several teaching prizes including the 2001 Oakland University Teaching Excellence Award. In 2009, he was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians (OAH).

Estes started college as a music major and was a drummer and percussionist before switching majors to history. Although he originally planned on law school and a career in politics, Estes’s life was changed by a dynamic history professor and, at age 20, his present career path was established. Although he no longer plays drums, he is an avid listener to many types of music but especially jazz and classical. In particular, he has become nearly obsessed with a sub-genre of jazz known as hard bop from the late 1950s and early 1960s. If you drop by his office, there’s an excellent chance you will hear him playing Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Lee Morgan, Jackie McLean, Freddie Hubbard or some other hard bop jazz icon as he works (or pretends to). He also is a huge fan of coach Bill Belichick and the NFL’s New England Patriots and frequently blogs about the Patriots at the website www.patspulpit.com as "Professor Todd."



Editor, Founding Visions: The Ideas, Intersections, and Individuals that Created America by Lance Banning (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2015).  Edited and with an introduction by Todd Estes.

The Jay Treaty Debate, Public Opinion, and the Evolution of Early American Political Culture (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2006; paperback 2008).  H-Diplo Roundtable Review of The Jay Treaty Debate (May 2008).


Campaign for the Constitution: The Politics of Moderation in the Ratification Debates (under contract with the University of Virginia Press for its "Jeffersonian America" series)

Articles and Chapters

“‘From the Works of Nature…to the Institutions of Man’: How Political Moderation Made Possible the Constitution’s Ratification,” in Journal of the Early Republic, Vol. 43, Number 3 (Fall 2023), 363-398.

"The Emergence and Fundamental Centrality of James Madison's Federalist 37: Historians, Political Theorists, and the Recentering of Meaning in The Federalist" in American Political Thought, Volume 12, Number 3 (Summer 2023), 424-452.

 “Joining the ‘Sacred Sentiment of Public Gratitude’ at the Death of Old Hickory: Mourning, Partisanship, and Andrew Jackson’s Problematic Legacy,” in Lindsay M. Chervinsky and Matthew R. Costello (eds.), Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Politics (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2023), 56-79. 

“‘[A]rraying him against himself’: The Jefferson Presidency and the American Future Through the Eyes of Alexander Hamilton,” in Robert M.S. McDonald and Peter S. Onuf (eds.), Revolutionary Prophecies: The Founders on America’s Future (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2021), pp. 153-174.

“Beyond Whigs and Democrats: Historians, Historiography, and the Paths Toward a New Synthesis for the Jacksonian Era,” in American Nineteenth Century History Volume 21, Number 3 (2020), 255-281.

"The 18th Century Origins of the Modern U.S. Presidential Campaign: Continuity and Change in American Political Culture," XVIII: New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century 14 (Spring 2017): 4-30.

"The Endless Allure and Ultimate Folly of Determining the Original Meaning of the Constitution: History, Law, Politics, and the American Founding," XVIII: New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century 11 (Spring 2014).

"Jefferson as Party Leader," in Francis Cogliano, ed., A Companion to Thomas Jefferson, a volume in the Blackwell Companions to American History series (Malden, Massachusetts and Oxford, England: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, 2012), pp. 128-144.

“The Connecticut Effect: The Great Compromise of 1787 and the History of Small State Impact on Electoral College Outcomes,” The Historian 73:2 (Summer 2011): 255-83.

"What We Think About When We Think About Thomas Jefferson," Oakland Journal 20 (Winter 2011): 21-46.

"Cautionary Tales from the Clinton Administration: First Year Lessons the New Democratic President Can Learn from the Last One"The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics 7, No. 1 (2009).

"The Voices of Publius and the Strategies of Persuasion in THE FEDERALIST" Journal of the Early Republic 28 No. 4 (Winter 2008), 523-558.

"Constructing the Syllabus: Devising a Framework for Helping Students Learn to Think Like Historians," The History Teacher 40 (February 2007): 183-201.

"Searching for Synthesis: The Fragmentation of Early American History and the Prospects for Reunification--A Review Essay," The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 104, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 95-126.

"The Unpopularity of Popular History in the Academy: An Academic's Thoughts on David McCullough's Visit to Campus," Oakland Journal (Winter 2006): 9-26.

"Where the Votes Are: The Electoral Geography of the Coming Democratic Majority," The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics 3, no. 4 (2006).

"The Federalist Party" and "Jay's Treaty" in Encyclopedia of the New American Nation, ed. Paul Finkelman (New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 2005), 2:12-15; 2:248-249.

"The Blue States and the Red States: Scouting the Electoral Map at the Outset of the 2004 Presidential Campaign," The Oakland Journal (Fall 2004): 9-20.

"The Election of 1812," in American Presidential Campaigns and Elections: A Reference Guide, ed. Ballard C. Campbell and William G. Shade (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2003), 1:166-177.

"John Jay, the Concept of Deference, and the Transformation of Early American Political Culture," The Historian 65 (Winter 2002): 293-317.

"The Art of Presidential Leadership: George Washington and the Jay Treaty," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 109, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 127-158.

"Shaping the Politics of Public Opinion: Federalists and the Jay Treaty Debate," Journal of the Early Republic 20, no. 3 (Fall 2000): 393-422.

"'The Most Bewitching Piece of Parliamentary Oratory': Fisher Ames's Jay Treaty Speech Reconsidered," Historical Journal of Massachusetts (Winter 2000): 1-22.

Work in Progress

The Campaign for the Constitution: Political Culture and the Ratification Contest (research for book underway).

External Web Links:

Department of History

Varner Hall, Room 415
371 Varner Dr.
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-3510
fax: (248) 370-3528